A pontoon boat trailer is a trailer intended to pick up, transport, carry, and, sometimes, store a boat.
When buying pontoon boats, people usually take into account only their characteristics and the most important equipment and parts for the boat itself. However, when considering the purchase of a boat or other sailing equipment, the important segment of marine equipment that is often overlooked is the pontoon boat trailer.
And the search doesn’t stop there! To make the best out of your boat trailer, you need proper trailer tires, specifically designed to maneuver and transport the heavy pontoon boats. You will need some heavy-duty and durable tires to counterbalance the heaviness of the trailer and the boat.
In this article, we gathered the five top-rated pontoon boat trailer tires to go along with the rest of your boating equipment and allow you to tow your vessel for miles and miles.
Our Top Picks
1. Carlisle Sport Trail LH Bias Trailer Tire
If you’re looking for high-quality and durable trailer tires that will last you for ages, the tires by Carlisle are the ones to go for. They feature bias ply construction as well as an innovative contour and tread, making them optimal for rugged performance and minimal rolling resistance.
These tires are perfect for trailers used for utility, agriculture, construction, as well as boat and cargo transport. They are compatible with a number of popular boat trailer brands, including Continental, Karavan, Mako, Ranger, River Pro, Sea Ray, Craft, Stratos, Alumacraft, Crestliner, Lund, Sun Tracker, Tahoe, Striper, Yamaha, Warrior, Triumph, among others.
These tires are built for a maximum capacity of 990 pounds and a recommended PSI of 90. However, to determine the appropriate size and load capacity, it’s recommended to refer to the trailer’s owner manual and your existing tire sidewall.
- Built to last, extremely sturdy and durable;
- Feature unique wear and heat-proof rubber tread;
- Equipped with high-tension steel belts;
- Low-rolling resistance for guaranteed premium speed on the road;
- Designed for infrequent and shorter-distance hauling;
- Tires only; a wheel is not included when purchased.
2. Maxxis Radial Tire
These tires by Maxxis offer extremely strong and sturdy sidewalls to tackle and withstand even the harshest terrains. Featuring the advanced tread design, these tires are resistance-free for improved speed and less fuel consumption.
Thanks to their double steel-belted construction and the maximum load of 2830 pounds, these tires perform well on gritty streets while offering perfect towing stability. For better safety and durability as well as load-handling, these trailer tires feature excellent shock absorption.
Their radial design prevents clogging and molding inside the tires, which is perfect for a marine vessel. Due to their double steel construction and the 10-ply rating, the tires offer extra strength and hauling stability. Despite the steel construction, these tires are perfectly lightweight but perform great with heavy pontoons and trailers.
- Excellent stability and durability thanks to the double steel construction and the ‘E’ load range;
- Maximum capacity of 2830 lbs and the premium shock absorption allow for stable towing performance and added speed;
- The radial tire design for added comfort, durability, flexibility;
- Could be noisy on the road due to a bit harder tread.
3. Kenda Loadstar Bias Trailer Tire
The Kenda Load Start Trailer Tire allows for perfect handling, and the bias-designed tires provide excellent stability. They’re equipped with modern tires tread to reduce rolling resistance and offer smooth transport. Featuring galvanized steel wheels, which are most commonly used in marine equipment, you don’t have to worry about corrosion.
These tires comply with all the DOT requirements (Department of Transportation) for the guaranteed high quality and performance. Some other important features include: the wheel diameter of ten inches; the wheel width is six inches; the width of the tire is 8.4 inches it has a bolt pattern of 5-lug 4,5-inch bolt pattern; the pilot hole diameter in the center of the wheel is 2.8 inches; the overall diameter when the tires are inflated is 20.4 inches.
The Kenda tires weigh 17 pounds and have 1100 pounds of weight capacity at 90 PSI. The speed rating is N, which means that these tires are tested at 81 miles per hour.
- These tires are DOT approved;
- Excellent durability and stability thanks to the bias design, allowing for both long and short distance hauling;
- Modern tread for reduced rolling resistance and a smooth ride;
- Steel wheels with a galvanized finish for corrosion resistance.
- Maximum capacity is only 1100 pounds.
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4. Carlisle Radial Trail HD Tire
The Carlisle Radial Trail HD Trailer Tires are made for both long and short distances and are compatible with trailers for cargo, boating, utility, stock, horses, and RVs. These are the latest generation of Carlisle trailer tires, leading the industry in performance and durability.
These tires feature the radial trial HD and a unique tread pattern, wearing evenly over time and making them optimized for low-rolling resistance. They are constructed with special heat-resistant technology, enabling them to withstand extreme operating conditions as well as heat generated at high speed. Thanks to these features, Carlisle managed to create sturdy and durable tires, offering reliable performance and extended tire lifetime.
Some more specs: item weight is 28.6 pounds; rim diameter of fifteen inches; load index rating is 117; speed rating is M (approved for speeds up to 87 mph or 140 km/h); maximum capacity is 2830 pounds at 80 PSI.
Whether you plan to use your trailer for sport, work, or entertainment, these radial tires by Carlisle are the toughest and the safest trailer tires you can find, providing you protection and a high-quality product.
- Unique tread design for optimized rolling resistance, making them perform perfectly at high speeds;
- Featuring the radial trial design, these tires are great at gripping the streets and offer excellent maneuverability and durability;
- Great for long-distance towing, with minimized and even wear;
- Equipped with heath resistance technology for withstanding the harshest heats and operating conditions;
- Sturdy and safe.
- Tires only; a wheel is not included when purchased.
5. Carrier Star Trailer Tire and 5-Hole Mod Wheel
This is another model by the trusted Kenda and is a perfect replacement tire for boat trailers, RVs, and utility. The Carrier Star Tire meets the DOT requirements and is perfectly safe for highway use.
It features a bias-ply tire, supporting the vehicle on the sidewalls and the tread face and making it suitable for heavy-load hauling and a higher load capacity. It’s tested for the load range C, carrying up to 1360 pounds at 50 PSI.
The thicker sidewalls, as well as the powder-coat finish, allow for improved resistance to punctures and cuts. This type of finish protects the tire from corrosion, chipping, fading, and scratching, which makes them look amazing and last longer.
Some other specs: item weight is 31 pounds; rim diameter is 13 inches; rim width is 4.5 inches.
- Meets all the Department of Transportation requirements;
- Featuring bias-ply construction, this tire is excellent for heavy loads and sturdy and secure hauling;
- The white powder-coat pinstripe finish makes this item corrosion-free and protects it from wear and tear for a longer tire life;
- The thicker sidewalls provide better resistance to cuts and punctures.
- Designed for short-distance hauling;
- This is a replacement tire, so you’re getting only one for the price.
Buyer’s Guide to Help You Make The Right Choice
If you are looking to buy new trailer tires for your boat, there are some features you need to consider. In this Buyer’s Guide, we’ll take a closer look at some of those features and analyze their advantages and disadvantages to make it easier for you to make the final buying decision:
Feature #1 Weight and Size
Boat trailers are heavy by themselves. Hauling a pontoon boat on your trailer from A to B can be quite complicated. When considering the weight of your trailer tires, you need to take into account the weight of your trailer as well as your boat. In any case, the load will be heavy and bulky, and you will need good support in your trailer tires. Generally, the heavier the tires, the more load they can support. However, larger and heavier tires decrease fuel efficiency, and they usually have a higher rolling resistance.
Feature #2 Traction
Traction refers to the rolling resistance of your trailer tires, and it measures how well they perform and stick to wet surfaces, such as concrete and asphalt. The rolling resistance of the tires depends to a great extent on their treading as well as their size and material. To transit your trailer without a glitch, you need to look for tread-wear ratings that are high. For example, the tire tread-wear rating of 400 means the tires will last four times longer than those rated 100 and lower.
Feature #3 Radial vs. Bias Ply Tires
Radial tires feature steel belt construction, which means they have steel plies running at a 90-degree around the tire’s circumference and below the tread. This type of construction provides great stability and strength. Radial tires also produce less heat, supporting their longevity and durability.
Bias-ply tires, on the other hand, have ply construction positioned at a 30-degree angle. As a result, they have stiffer sidewalls, reducing the swaying of your rig and providing great support for heavier hauls. These types of tires are usually less expensive, but they also don’t last as long.
Feature #4 Load Capacity
When calculating your tires’ load capacity, you need to consider the weight of your trailer without a load versus the weight of the trailer with the boat. The load capacity of your tires combined should exceed the total weight of your vehicle towing axle. We would recommend that your tire’s capacity should be at least 20% higher than the weight of your loaded trailer.
Manufacturers usually list the weight of the towing items, such as boats, but they don’t account for additional equipment, such as fuel, battery, water, and other accessories. So, when purchasing the new trailer tires and looking for their load capacity rating, make sure to calculate the weight of your trailer, your boat, as well as all the other elements that come with it.
Feature #5 Inflation
The proper air pressure of your trailer tires is important for a smooth ride, tracking, safety, longevity, and last but not least, fuel economy. The ideal PSI is always indicated on a tire, so be guided by this when purchasing the new ones. You should always adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations for the PSI and inspect it immediately after purchasing it.
Overinflated tires can lead to uneven wear, and they are more likely to blow out. On the other hand, if the tires are underinflated, you will have more flexing, which results in increased heat and damage to the inner lining, outer sidewalls, and casing. After inspecting, if you find that your tires have only 80% of the recommended PSI, you should replace them immediately.
Feature #6 Sidewall code
Without any doubt, you want your trailer tires to be sturdy and solid. This particularly applies to boat trailers as the load is heavy, and there is some extra pressure on the tire’s sidewalls. If you want your tires to be capable of supporting that pressure, you need to pay attention to their sidewall codes.
Sidewall codes contain a variety of information, including capacity, dimension, and age. But most importantly, they should indicate the purpose of the tires. For trailer tires, look for the label ST, which stands for ‘Specialty Trailer?, or the indication ‘Trailer Use Only.’ In contrast to car tires, trailer tires have reinforced sidewalls to handle your vessel’s weight, especially when hauling.
Feature #7 Longevity
There’s no guarantee on how long your tires will last. There are some elements that affect their longevity, such as their construction type, tread design, and other features such as high absorption technologies or heat resistance. However, the overall wear-and-tear depends on the frequency of the towing as well as on the hauling distances. We would recommend comparing features from different brands and manufacturers and reading customers’ reviews and feedback to get the best deal. This way, you’ll gather all the necessary information before making a final decision.
Feature #8 Speed
The majority of the trailer tires come with a default speed of 65 mph. However, some tires are tested for higher speeds, and these will have their speed rating indicated on their sidewalls. The speed rating indicated with the letter L means they could operate at speed up to 75 mph; the letter M indicates the speed of up to 81 or 87 mph. If there is no rating indicated on the sidewalls, the tires are most likely intended for speed not higher than 65 mph. Regardless, our recommendation would always be to decrease your load capacity by at least 10% if you plan to run your trailer at higher speeds.
Feature #9 Storage
Finally, after you’ve purchased your trailer tires, you need to store them properly. We would recommend getting micro-fiber or plastic cases specially designed for storing the tires. To prevent damage and make sure your tires last long and perform well, keep them away from sunlight, freezing temperatures, moisture, and wind. Besides, it would help if you kept them indoors when you’re not using them in your garage or basement.
To Wrap Up
Picking the right tires for your pontoon trailer is very important. To ensure your safety and the security and safety of your boat and your trailer, find the right quality tires that best fit your need. Don’t risk it and go for used tires since you can find good new tires for a relatively low price. Needless to say, if you find any damage or defect on your new tires, ask for replacement before hitting the road.
Hopefully, our list of the five best-rated pontoon trailer tires, as well as our Buyer’s Guide, will help you make that decision and enjoy your boat anywhere you want.
Q: What are the best trailer tires to buy?
A: You won’t regret buying any of the trailer tires from our top-rated list. However, our best picks would be Carlisle Radial Trail HD Trailer Tire and Carlisle Sport Trail LH Bias Trailer Tire, as they are the most versatile when it comes to features and compatibility with other trailer brands.
Q: What load range tire do I need for my trailer?
A: If the load range is indicated by the letter C, it means that the tires can withstand the weight of 1820 pounds each. This includes the weight of your trailer and the boat, plus everything else inside the boat, such as fuel, engine, and other accessories.
Q: Should travel trailer tires be balanced?
A: The answer is yes. Unbalanced tires can lead to vibration, premature wear and tear, and axle damage. Additionally, suppose the tires are unbalanced while on the road. In that case, they will create more heat, leading to a potential blowout that can have fatal consequences.
Q: How many years are trailer tires good for?
A: Generally, trailer tires are made to last five years under regular maintenance and use conditions.
Check out this video to learn how to change a tire on a boat trailer:
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